The 2018 bay scallop abundance survey results are in, and the epicenter of this year’s short harvest season is along Natural North Florida’s Big Bend coast. Each summer, biologists assess bay scallop populations along the Gulf coast of Florida, located in open and closed recreational harvest areas. Surveys are usually initiated in June and completed in July. Scientists look at long-term trends in the abundance of scallops in both the open and closed areas and present those findings to the Division of Marine Fisheries Management
While there are five coastal counties in our Natural North Florida Region, four are the most popular for scallopers. Dixie, Taylor, Jefferson and Wakulla generally support good numbers of the tasty mollusks, Levy County’s waters are generally darker and not conducive to snorkeling, the primary method of harvesting bay scallops. Likewise, due to the outflow of several creeks and several darkwater rivers, Jefferson County (Aucilla) is a good place to launch, but you must travel south or north to find clear water.
A Limit of bay scallops in the shell on ice mean one thing…
…lots of scallops at the cleaning table, and…
…a meal fit for a king!
Sauteed Scallops over Linguine with Marinara Sauce
Scallops and Feta Cheese, in Pasta Shells with Basil
The 2018 Scallop Abundance Estimates have been on track this season, with the best numbers coming from the waters between Horseshoe Beach (in Dixie County) and Keaton Beach (in Taylor County), including the waters off Steinhatchee. You can see this year’s numbers at the FWC Bay Scallop Research Page .
Expect big crowds at Steinhatchee, Keaton Beach, St. Marks and Horseshoe Beach, especially on weekends. And be careful when on the water, where specific rules and regulations regarding boat safety are in force.
For a complete look at bay scalloping, rules and regulations, and a few recipes, click on